For more than 30 years, Democratic Party leaders have been trying to kick pro-lifers out of the party. This year, when they need pro-life voters more than ever, leading Democrats are still more determined to alienate them.
In a televised town hall last month, Democrats for Life President Kristen Day asked candidate Pete Buttigieg whether there is room for 21 million pro-life Democrats in the party, citing the 2016 party platform that for the first time explicitly endorsed forcing taxpayers to fund abortion on demand.
Buttigieg could not identify a single limit on abortion he would support, or even acknowledge room for debate on the issue. Days later he doubled down, refusing to draw the line even at partial-birth abortion.
If anyone has tried to make this love-hate relationship work, it’s Fordham professor Charles Camosy. After seven years on the board of Democrats for Life, Camosy is calling it quits over Buttigieg’s extremism and intolerance: “Here was a mainstream Democratic candidate suggesting, at one point, that abortion is OK up to the point the baby draws her first breath…When I heard that, I realized we were fighting a losing battle.”
Buttigieg isn’t alone –when it comes to abortion, there is no daylight between any of the Democratic contenders for president.
Pandering to the radical abortion lobby is a foolish strategy. One third of rank-and-file Democrats identify as pro-life, and recent polling shows 62% of Independents and 44% of Democrats would be likely to vote for a candidate who wants significant limits on abortion. This week pro-abortion Democrats in the Senate will go against 70 percent of people in their own party to block a bill to simply provide protections for born children who survive failed abortions. Such mindless adherence to a deeply unpopular abortion agenda is pushing pro-life Democrats away, leaving millions of votes on the table for President Trump and pro-life Republicans.
President Trump, more than any Republican presidential nominee before, understood the power of the pro-life vote and actively sought it out. His four groundbreaking written commitments during his campaign were key to mobilizing the base and reassuring the uncertain. My fellow activists, canvassers on the Susan B. Anthony List field team, visited the homes of more than 1.1 million voters to elect President Trump and secure pro-life majorities in Congress. The result: pro-life voters delivered the margin of victory in battleground states. In 2018, we more than doubled our number of voters reached in key states to build a pro-life majority in the U.S. Senate. This included Florida, where we visited more than one million voters and where Rick Scott defeated pro-abortion Senator Bill Nelson by just over 10,000 votes.
This time around we don’t just have promises. President Trump is running on a record of governing as the most pro-life president in history – and SBA List has grown, aiming to visit the homes of 4 million voters. It’s not enough knowing that pro-life Democrats and Independents exist, they must be identified, engaged and persuaded to vote for pro-life candidates. After years spent developing and refining sophisticated modeling techniques and the infrastructure to reach these persuadable voters on the ground, SBA List is the best and perhaps only group positioned to leverage the political potency of the life issue.
Another difference between 2016 and now is that we’re living in a post-Cuomo, post-Northam world. These notorious governors’ support for abortion on demand through birth, and even infanticide, went viral and received massive media attention. President Trump knows this is a key area of contrast between himself and his opponents and has continually called out the Democrats’ extremism, from the final debate in 2016, to every campaign rally, to two consecutive State of the Union addresses.
As pro-life conservatives convene for CPAC, they’re holding an open door for pro-life voters who’ve been kicked to the curb by the extremists now leading the Democratic Party. A party that once claimed to be a champion for the vulnerable and forgotten has reached a new level of open hostility to human life at its most innocent and vulnerable stage – to their own political peril. Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi knows life was the decisive election issue in 2016. In 2020, it is more salient than ever – and that points toward an even bigger win for President Trump.